The 9 Best Lightweight Laptops to Buy in 2018

Ultrabooks: fulfill all your computer's needs without the added bulk and weight

The moment Steve Jobs pulled the first generation MacBook Air out of a manila envelope in front of the press, the Ultrabook industry was born. Since that time, Ultrabooks have come a long way, gaining more processing power, fast storage ​and excellent battery life. They are the sweet spot between heavier, albeit more powerful laptops and the less powerful, less capable tablets. These lightweight computers offer something for everyone, so read on to see which of the lightweight laptops below would be best for you.

Best Overall: ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54

At 12.7 x 8.7 x .5 inches and 2.68 pounds, the ZenBook UX330 is one of the most portable laptops on the market today. It has a 13.3-inch, 1080p display that produces vibrant colors and promises wide viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. Its touchpad incorporates a convenient fingerprint sensor that enables a fast and secure log-in.

Thanks to an Intel Core 2.5GHz i5-7200U processor and a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) with 8GB DDR3 RAM, it boots up in seconds and handles photo and video editing software with ease. Unlike the ZenBook UX305UA, the UX330UA has a backlit keyboard that makes typing on the ergonomic keyboard a comfortable experience even in dim settings. You’d think that would add to battery drain, but with over 10 hours of battery life, the UX330UA keeps you working on long flights. Running Windows 10, this ultrabook is a great alternative to a MacBook, striking the perfect balance between performance and portability.

Check out our other reviews of the best laptops available on the market today.

Best Budget: ASUS F556UA-AB54

ASUS made a quality laptop for a budget price that delivers a lightweight and portable device that doesn’t skimp on the essential features in the quest to cut the bottom line. There’s no backlit keyboard, the trackpad isn’t the most responsive and you might want to upgrade the RAM in order to cut out lag during games.

But these cons are outweighed by the pros, which first and foremost include a stylish lightweight design. Featuring a gorgeous 15.6” full HD LCD screen, the laptop has a 1” profile and weighs around five pounds. The deep blue spun metal finish on the lid will differentiate it from the boring black plastic that is ubiquitous in the budget category. The performance is also noteworthy for the price, thanks to a 2.5GHz 7th-generation i5 processor and 256GB SSD hard drive. The laptop is also outfitted with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and a variety of ports.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best laptops under $500

Best Large Screen: LG gram 15Z970 15.6”

 

LG released a powerhouse of an ultrabook that is winning accolades for being one of the lightest and slimmest 15” screens. The specs are sure to impress, as the laptop tries to be the best gram for gram on the market. It weighs a featherweight 2.5 pounds, thanks to a sleek metal alloy body from advanced nano carbon and magnesium for a durable, but ultra-lightweight case that is less than .7” thick. Meanwhile, the thin bezel doesn’t distract from the gorgeous IPS screen that gives more viewing area and exquisite style.

Besides the thin lightweight design and gorgeous 15.6” IPS screen, the laptop has a powerful 7th generation i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. The battery keeps going for over 15 hours of power, while DTS Headphone: X delivers expansive 11.1 channels of audio for a revelatory listening experience.

Check out our guide to the best 17-inch and larger laptops you can buy today. 

Best Design: Microsoft Surface Laptop

In the past, Microsoft hasn’t necessarily been well-known for its beautiful designs, but the company is changing that perception with the stunning new Microsoft Surface Laptop.  This slim laptop boasts an attractive full aluminum lid and body that feels both durable and surprisingly light.

Though it has plastic keys, Microsoft covered them in luxurious Italian Alcantrara fabric laser-cut to fit the keyboard in order to provide a unique and smooth typing experience.  The speakers are placed behind the keyboard in a unique and space-saving design touch, meaning that there are no additional speakers to add bulk or extra size.  Keep in mind that the Surface Laptop is designed for Windows 10 S or Windows 10 Pro, which Microsoft says will keep this machine running faster and more securely since you will only be using Microsoft-verified apps from the Windows Store. 

Best for Business: HP Spectre x360

HP’s latest Ultrabook features a micro-edge touch screen and a long lasting fast-charging battery for business on long flights or interactive presentations in the boardroom. Power through anything with the newest 8th Gen Intel Core i7-855OU, an immensely powerful processor with up to 4 GHz processor with Intel Turbo Boost Technology. The power is all confined in a sleek and impossibly slim body that functions as a 2-in-1 with a 13.3 inch diagonal Full HD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass for durability. An HP Active Stylus allows for drawing and easy note taking, while a HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera with Dual-array digital microphone gives you the peace of mind to enter important video conferences. Finally, the battery can go for an impressive 17 hours without needing a charge, with quick charging when it is time to reload.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best business laptops

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 packs a 13.3” display in a laptop the size of a typical 11” notebook, which makes for a computer that’s both compact and lightweight. Whether you’re at work or playing, the 2.7-pound XPS 13 has more than enough horsepower to get you through the day.

Our model of choice includes an Intel Core i5 3.4 GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB SSD, up to 11 hours of battery life and Windows 10. That option is priced several hundred dollars cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a QHD+ display, but still offers the non-touch InfinityEdge border which remains stunning no matter your configuration. With a comfortable keyboard to type on, precise trackpad, huge range of configurations and a design that’s unrivaled, the Dell XPS 13 is fantastic.

Best for Portability: Apple 12" MacBook

When it comes to the most portable laptop on our list, the title goes to one of tech's greatest titans: Apple. We’re choosing them not just because of their 12-inch laptop's tiny size and weight, but also because the company has managed to maintain an impressively rugged build — something equally important to a device’s portability.

The 1.2 GHz dual-core M3 processor is nothing to write home about (especially when you compare it to the  MacBook Pro line), but for most casual users it’ll be more than enough. There’s 8GB DDR3 RAM to bolster the processor and a 256 solid-state drive for lightning-fast data callback. The model is also fanless — its processor runs on just 5 watts of power which means you won't hear or feel a thing when it's working. 

The screen, though, is where this device really shines, offering 2304 x 1440 retina resolution powered by a dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615 card. The butterfly keyboard design functions well (though it can be a little loud and clicky), and the battery life is quite impressive for the laptop's size. Available in a few different color options, the looks and build of this model make it a great on-the-go tech companion. 

 

Best Gaming: Lenovo Y520 Gaming Laptop

Once upon a time, gaming laptops weighed well over 10 pounds and could barely be considered portable. This Lenovo Y520 Gaming Laptop makes that a memory of the past, weighing just over five pounds to clock in as one of the lightest gaming laptops on the market. The slim and portable PC is just 1.02” thick and features a sleek black exterior and red backlit keyboard. Expect the powerful performance you need to play the latest titles with Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor and 8GB DDR RAM. A NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10450 graphics card delivers stunning picture while optimized thermal engineering keeps the laptop cool in heated situations. Expect cinematic audio experience from 2 x 2WW Harman speakers and Dolby Audio Premium. The laptop also offers 1.7mm of key travel and accurate responsive keystrokes, nearly silent in case you are gaming late at night and don’t want to disturb a roommate.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best gaming laptops.

Best for Students: Yoga 720

Students in search of a flexible work environment should consider the Yoga 720, a 2-in-1 ultrabook with a 360-degree flip-and-fold design that offers four unique laptop modes. The lightweight device can be used as a traditional laptop for taking notes in a lecture hall, a tablet for bus rides, a tent for presentations, as well as a stand for watching movies in the dorm room. All of this versatility clocks in at just 2.9 pounds and is .6” thin, making for an ultraportable device that won’t weigh down your backpack. It is powered by an 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250 processor and 8GB DDR4 RAM, which will allow you to play games or work on graphic design programs, depending if you’re in the mood for leisure or business. Other nice features include a backlit keyboard, a built-in 720 HD webcam, three USB ports and a 10-point multitouch screen.

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